FORT MILL — Fort Mill’s hopes of winning the region wrestling title took a major hit after the Jackets were dominated by the Rock Hill Bearcats 41-21.
The win who potentially clinched the Region III-AAAA title for visiting Rock Hill. Fort Mill won the last seven region titles in both 3A and 4A.
Usually a back-and-forth battle between the schools when it comes to wrestling, the final score almost always comes down to the last match or two, but Thursday evening it was nearly all Rock Hill.
“We were able to come up with some close wins,” said Rock Hill coach Cain Beard. “There were some great matches.”
Fort Mill, ranked 12th in the state, had already had a down year by its own standards, coming into the match with a 17-5 record, while Rock Hill was sitting atop the state polls at number one with a 25-1 record. The Bearcats came in undefeated in the region, while Fort Mill dropped a close match last week to York for its only region loss.
Rock Hill still has to face Northwestern, while Fort Mill still has region meets against Lancaster, South Pointe and Nation Ford.
For the second time in the past three meets, Fort Mill coach Chris Brock was upset at how his team performed.
“It wasn’t about technique or anything like that,” he said. “We wrestled without heart or guts. We had no fire. We have to focus on getting mentally and physically tougher.”
The entire meet’s momentum came in the first three weight classes.
“Those first three matches were the turning point because we were able to find a way to win,” Beard said.
“There was three close matches to start that could have gone either way and we didn’t win a one of them,” Brock said.
The meet started at 126 pounds with Fort Mill’s Jake Strong going against Rock Hill’s Noah Mead.
Strong went up 7-1 after the first period. Mead fought back to cut the lead and then tied things in the third period at 9 with about 30 seconds left. Mead got the two points he needed for the win in overtime to put Rock Hill up 3-0 early.
At 132 pounds, Rock Hill’s Christen Moore went up early on the Jackets’ Danny Angel 3-2. An escape in the second period tied things for Fort Mill. Moore then got a takedown before the end of the second period to retake the lead and hold on for a 6-3 win.
Fort Mill’s Nigel Bostick and Rock Hill’s Samuel Swoope wrestled to a 0-0 tie after the first period at 138 pounds. Bostick got an escape to start the second period and went up 1-0.
Swoope got the point he needed to tie it at 1 30 seconds into the third period. With less than six seconds left in the match, Swoope got the only takedown to get the win.
At 145 pounds, Fort Mill’s Nick Leitten was given a point to start the third period after a 0-0 tie through two periods. That was all he needed to stay undefeated and give the Jackets its first points of the match and make the score 9-3.
Rock Hill’s Robert Mills went up 5-2 after the first period at 152 pounds. He would push that lead to 7-3 after the second period and then finish it with a pin to push the Bearcats lead to 15-3.
The Bearcats’ Keon Boulware picked up Rock Hill’s second straight win by pin, beating the Jackets’ Brandon Mayer in the first period at 160-pounds.
Rock Hill continued to dominate the meet with wins at 170 pounds by Cody Childers and 182-pounds by Afton Walker to go up 31-3.
Fort Mill was able to bounce back with a pin at 195-pounds as Kaleb Cisco pinned Ben Demarest to put some life back into the Jackets.
At 220 pounds, Fort Mill’s BJ Hurst and Rock Hill’s Cameron Bell had a back and forth match, with Bell hold a 6-4 lead entering the final period. Bell extended his lead to get the win 10-8.
That win put things out of reach for Fort Mill despite having four matches left as the Bearcats went up 34-9 to secure the dual win.
Rock Hill finished with wins at heavyweight in Travis Strait and at 106 with Devon Faile, while Fort Mill got a quick win from Eddie Byrams at 113 pounds and Tyler Turner won by forfeit at 120 pounds.
Rock Hill 41, Fort Mill 21
126: Noah Mead (RH) dec. Jake Strong (FM), 11-9 OT; 132: Christen Moore (RH) dec. Danny Angel (FM), 6-3; 138: Samuel Swoope (RH) dec. Nigel Bostick (FM), 3-2; 145: Nick Leitten (FM) dec. Bishop Ashley (RH), 1-0; 152: Robert Mills (RH) pinned Malik Long (FM), 2nd period; 160: Keon Boulware (RH) pinned Brandon Mayer (FM), 1st period; 170: Cody Childers (RH) major dec. Will Hooker (FM), 14-6; 182: Afton Walker (RH) pinned Brock Kerr (FM), 2nd period; 195: Kaleb Cisco (FM) pinned Ben Demarest (RH), 3rd period; 220: Cameron Bell (RH) dec. BJ Hurst (FM), 10-8; Hwt.: Travis Strait (RH) major dec. Sam Smith (FM), 9-0; 106: Devon Faile (RH) dec. John Brotemarkle (FM), 6-0; 113: Eddie Byrams (FM) pinned Logan Sexton (RH) 1st period; 120: Tyler Turner (FM) forfeit win.
Records: Rock Hill 26-1, 6-0 Region III-AAAA; Fort Mill 17-6, 2-2 Region III-AAAA.